Monday, August 14, 2006

HyderaBAD Traffic

In Hyderabad, there is traffic then there is TRAFFIC. Traffic is a man-made bane onto man himself as well as natures. Not only, does it affect Nature but also my nature.

It’s frustrating the way traffic in Hyderabad has gone and become the ugly face that I have to look at every day. Not many places I have been in my life but I am sure to a great extent that Hyderabad has a traffic unrivalled. Motorized, mechanical and pedestrian. None of these act in a way one would expect them to. I believe, it is another organism by itself. I have, over the past 9 years and more than 70,000 k.m. of it, come to understand the potent nature of the Hyderabadi Traffic. Within the City, it can be seen everywhere. Acting in a unique way. Unique to Hyderabad.

Knowing the way scooterists will swerve, the way the buses will suddenly stop, the way some unsuspecting auto-rickshaw swerves out from in front of you and lays bare a pedestrian crossing the road at any place other than the Zebra-crossing. It’s all there in my mind, programmed or hardwired, developing over the years. To begin to think that you know everything about it is the first step towards being crushed by it. No matter how experienced you are in driving in Hyderabad, it will surprise you to no end!!

People cross national highways as if it were their backyard. Drivers swerve like they are the only entity occupying the road. Diverse are the ways of the roads surprising you. Some lanes manufacture potholes in hours, some get dug up in a matter of minutes by various “development” activities. To think that telephonic mobility has to be achieved through chiseling scars on the road and patching them up with metal strips. Newly laid roads don’t look good!! They have to be dug within two days.

To traverse this mixed bag every day is like undertaking a soul searching journey. Too many times I have to bite back hard on my anger. Apparently, traffic rules are solely for decorating textbooks with red, amber and green. No one knows what they mean.

One question that always crosses my mind. What is the future of this? Where will Hyderabad be 2 years from now, leave alone the year 2020. There are some good steps the government has taken. Rooting out the evil broker from the licensing mechanism has to some extent taken out those ugly drivers. But still the enforcement is weak and a license less driver will go scot free by bribing a meager 50 bucks. This space will not be sufficient for discussing the variety of problems that keep cropping up. I leave that to the newspapers.

My purpose was to put down my frustration. The fact that I am writing this is proof that it’s not all that bad. You will live at the end of the day. I just hope people respect the rules and do their own little bit by stopping where they should stop. Just to make life a little easier, Just a bit.

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